React Custom Hook Controller Pattern: Creating a Sortable Table

React Custom Hook Controller Pattern: Creating a Sortable Table

In React development, custom hooks are a handy tool for sharing logic between components, but they're not limited to just that. They are particularly useful for managing complex state interactions or combining multiple hooks. In this article, we'll explore how custom hooks can be used to create a sortable table in a React app. We'll discuss their benefits and show how to implement them for this specific use case.

The problem

In many situations in React development, when we need to add complex features, we often find it hard to do so in a way that keeps the code clean and easy to manage. If we don't have a clear plan, putting this feature directly into the component can make the code too complicated and hard to work with. In this case, let's consider a very simple example:

Understanding Custom Hook Controllers

React's custom hook controllers serve as central hubs for managing complex state and behavior across components. They enhance the concept of custom hooks by providing a structured approach to encapsulate detailed logic. By consolidating logic within these controllers, developers can streamline their codebases, making them cleaner and more manageable. This organizational approach facilitates code comprehension, debugging, and collaboration. Additionally, the modular nature of custom hook controllers simplifies testing, as logic is encapsulated within reusable functions.

Implementing the pattern

Let's review the previous code and see how we can improve it using custom hook controllers. We'll start by refining the existing code to create a custom hook controller named useSortableTable, which effectively encapsulates the sorting logic:

Now that we have defined the useSortableTable custom hook controller, let's integrate it into our table:

In this updated SortableTable, we import and use the useSortableTable hook controller. It returns the sorted data (sortedData), the current sort key (sortKey), the sort direction (sortDirection), and a function to toggle sorting by key (sortByKey). We utilize these values to render the table headers with appropriate sorting indicators and to display the sorted data in the table body.

Adding new features

One of the advantages of using custom hook controllers is the ease of adding new features to your components. Let's enhance our sortable table component by adding a feature to toggle the selection of table rows.

We can simply add selected property in each TableDataItem, which indicates whether an item is selected or not. To implement the toggle selection feature, we can utilize this property along with the toggleSelect function provided by our useSortableTable hook controller.

Now that we have updated our useSortableTable hook to include the toggleSelect function, let's integrate it into our SortableTable component:

In this updated SortableTable component, we've added a new column for selection in the table. Each row contains a checkbox input that reflects the selected property of the corresponding TableDataItem. We use the toggleSelect function from the useSortableTable hook controller to toggle the selection state when the checkbox is clicked.

This new feature enhances the functionality of our sortable table component, allowing users to select or deselect individual table rows with ease.


React's custom hook controllers provide an effective approach to managing complex state interactions within applications. By encapsulating intricate logic within a centralized custom hook controller, developers can achieve cleaner and more maintainable codebases. This approach not only promotes better code organization but also facilitates testing and enhances reusability.

Furthermore, the flexibility and extensibility of custom hook controllers allow for seamless integration of new features, demonstrating their versatility in handling evolving application requirements. In summary, leveraging custom hook controllers empowers developers to build scalable and maintainable React applications by promoting code separation, facilitating testing, and enhancing reusability. Embracing this approach can lead to more efficient development workflows and robust applications in the long run.

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